This is the majestic and sacred mountain known as Croagh Patrick (or “The Reek” to locals). It is on its summit that St Patrick fasted for 40 days in 441AD. (St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who, over the course of a 20 year mission, converted the masses from paganism to Christianity.)
The mountain is now a site of pilgrimmage in Ireland (there is even a little church at the top), with the last Sunday in July (Reek Sunday) being a particularly important day that attracts thousands of pilgrims, many of whom make the difficult, steep and stony ascent barefoot! Why July and not March 17th? Well, it is considered unlucky to climb the reek on St Patrick’s Day, since 30 pilgrims were killed by lightning in 1250AD. Better safe than sorry, eh…
In the 1980′s a seam of gold was discovered in the mountain, but Mayo County Council voted to not allow mining, concluding that “the gold is fine where it is”. I love that!
Here in Ireland, today is a national holiday. And St Patrick’s Day is also widely celebrated elsewhere in the world (although you possibly don’t have the day off work like we do!)
From Westport, Co. Mayo (in the shadow of Croagh Patrick) – whatever you’re doing, wherever you are, Happy Paddy’s Day.
May you be well. May you be happy. May you be at peace.
(Ok, that’s a Buddhist blessing, not a Christian one, but I think it’s still appropriate )